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Gilberto Silva: 'Arsenal are looking for new midfielders in January'

Gilberto Silva: 'Arsenal are looking for new midfielders in January'
© Reuters
Arsenal Invincible Gilberto Silva claims that the Gunners will target a new midfielder in January amid links with Ruben Neves and Douglas Luiz.

Arsenal Invincible Gilberto Silva has confirmed that the Gunners are looking to strengthen their engine room during the January transfer window.

Despite splashing out £170m on the double capture of Kai Havertz and Declan Rice over the summer, the midfield remains a problematic area for Mikel Arteta, who has so far tried to mould the former into a deep-lying role without much success.

Rice has hit the ground running in North London as Arsenal cope without Granit Xhaka, who left for Bayer Leverkusen in the summer, but captain Martin Odegaard has been struggling with injuries for a few weeks.

Physical issues have also bedevilled Thomas Partey, who has played just five times in the current campaign and is out until the New Year owing to a thigh operation, and Arsenal are supposedly prepared to cash in on the Ghana international in January amid interest from Juventus.

Furthermore, Jorginho and Mohamed Elneny, who are both 31 years old, are due to become free agents at the end of the season, while Fabio Vieira and Emile Smith Rowe have failed to become consistent starters for Arteta.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta pictured before the match on November 8, 2023© Reuters

Speaking to The Mirror, Gilberto - whose midfield partnership with Patrick Vieira was a cornerstone of Arsenal's success under Arsene Wenger in the early 2000s - revealed that the club are hoping to bolster their engine room in January.

"I heard that they were maybe looking for some midfielders especially because of Partey being injured at times," the former Brazil international said at a Lisbon Web Summit.

"I'm not sure if it's 100 percent going to happen but obviously, they have to be aware that this is a very short window and very specific.

"You have to be like a fisherman sometimes, to grab the right player that you really need that's going to help you to win games and to be useful for the rest of the season. Also to improve the way you play.

"It's not about sometimes bringing a player because you need [them]. Speaking to people there, Edu many times, they are working hard to have the data and what they think is right for the club in terms of targets. The market is very competitive as well, sometimes you have to be fast and not lose the opportunity."

Arsenal could apparently try to go back in for previous targets in January, with Aston Villa's Douglas Luiz and Al-Hilal's Ruben Neves both mentioned as potential targets alongside Fluminense's Andre and Manchester City's Kalvin Phillips.

Al-Hilal's Ruben Neves pictured on August 19, 2023© Reuters

Nevertheless, Arteta's side have made a bright start to the new season with 27 points from 12 Premier League games to sit third in the table, as well as taking nine points from the first 12 on offer in the Champions League to lead the way in Group B.

"I'm happy about the way they're playing and I believe that the team can improve much more and fight for the title again," Silva added. "Last year, they were very close and I guess that in the end you were very close to winning and you lose in the last minute, it's very frustrating.

"It's very hard, we experienced that in 2002-03, we were in front for the major part of the competition and then we lost. But it gives you the hunger to do it again but to win it and I believe that this squad, with Arteta, with the players they've got now, it would be great if they win this year as they've gone through a very tough time as a club.

"In terms of the transition with Arsene [Wenger], another coach, and now with Arteta. In the beginning, it was not so easy for him (Arteta) - but now he's got stability, he's got a good team, and I believe it's time for them to win titles and the Premier League is one of them. Being back in the Champions League was also important for them.

"But for a club like Arsenal, it's not enough, you know? You have to always work hard to be in the best position you can even if you're not winning titles. Be at the top of the league, the top four, playing in the Champions League next season; this has to be the main goal."

Arsenal's first game back after the international break comes in the shape of a London derby against Brentford on Saturday, where a win may be enough to send Arteta's men to the summit if Manchester City and Liverpool share the spoils in their top-of-the-table battle earlier in the day.

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Thomas Partey in action for Ghana in October 2023
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